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Let's just be straight with each other

By John Dykers
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004

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Chatham County is in the midst of major changes from the relatively sparsely populated county I first met in 1964. We are not alone. The Research Triangle Park was all woods and was only an idea in Luther Hodges' brain. The influx of people to the high tech economic activity of the Triangle and to the chicken plants in Chatham has combined to put real human population pressure on the ecology of our neighborhood. Both the economics and the biology, from property taxes to clean water, present complex problems of who is going to pay what and how much in terms both of dollars and of quality of life.

Let's just be straight with each other and ourselves about what the tradeoffs are.

If we want to maintain forests and open spaces, are we willing as a community of taxpayers to buy development rights? We have land use tax evaluation which is the only thing that allows any agricultural or forestland to still exist here with this much development, housing, and population pressure.

How often is the complaint really, "I'm here now, shut the door so nobody else can come"? That is a legitimate self interest and should not be a hidden agenda.

How often is the complaint, "My property taxes are too high, and new high density communities cost more in schools and other county services than they provide in new taxes?" That also is a legitimate self interest and should not be a hidden agenda.

How often is the reality that more people mean more economic activity that is good for my business, and I don't care about less woods and fields and don't mind more traffic and congestion. That too is a legitimate self interest and should not be a hidden agenda.

How often is the reality that somebody else pays the taxes, so I don't care what it costs? That too is a legitimate self interest and should not be a hidden agenda.

Let's just be straight with each other and ourselves about what the tradeoffs are. The tradeoffs are there; they affect us all, but each of us maybe a little differently. Some of the changes are unavoidable and some can be at least be modified.

 
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Let's just be straight with each other
 
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